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Belt pulling for 'American Sniper' at Oscars

Giants' resident movie buff expects 'Selma' to take top prize

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Belt is prepared for a letdown when he watches Sunday night's Academy Awards telecast.

Belt, the Giants first baseman and resident film aficionado, raved about "American Sniper." Said Belt on Saturday, "That's one of the best movies I've ever seen." However, Belt doubted that enough Oscar voters will agree with him.

"It's not the type of war movie the Academy's going to pick," he said. So he predicted that "Selma" will capture best picture honors.

Belt clung to hopes that Bradley Cooper will earn the best actor distinction for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper."

"It was cool to have somebody to look up to for being a hero," Belt said. "You always heard about his story, but to see it on the screen -- I just think they did a good job. I felt like I was there."

Belt wasn't done praising Cooper.

"It seems like it'd be hard to play another real-life person and get his mannerisms down. But from everything I heard and from what I saw, he nailed it," Belt said. "I think when you do something as tough as that, they will honor you for it."

Belt sensed the early Oscar buzz surrounding Reese Witherspoon's performance in "Wild" will be enough to put her over the top in the best actress voting.

"I know people loved 'Wild,'" Belt said. "I think it's going to be between [Witherspoon] and Marian Cotillard (for 'Two Days, One Night')."

Belt added, "I think 'Boyhood' is going to do pretty well." That explained why he initially named Ethan Hawke from "Boyhood" as his best supporting actor choice over Robert Duvall in "The Judge." Ultimately, Belt went with Duvall, the celebrated veteran. Belt selected Patricia Arquette from "Boyhood" as the likely Oscar recipient for best supporting actress.

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.
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